Monday 24 Oct 2016

Buying New Stuff
Matt Seinberg

We all need to buy new stuff at one time or another. We’ll do our research on the internet, and usually go into a store to see it. You must try some items before you buy. Two of these items are mattresses and furniture for your living room or den.

Are you the type that also hates to shop, and only thinks that salespeople are reaching into your pocket to take your money? Well, I’m here to tell you that you are wrong, most of the time anyway.

How many times have you heard an ad on the radio or seen it on TV advertising a mattress imploring you to call an 800 phone number? Unless you can lay down on your radio, TV or telephone, how can anyone buy a mattress like that?

Most people don’t realize that the average life of a mattress is 8-to-12 years, with most keeping it around 10 years. The longest I’ve ever heard anyone keeping a mattress was fifty years. I sure wouldn’t want to be the fellow taking it out of the house.

Did you know that a mattress doubles in weight over 10 years? That’s because dust mites live in that mattress pretty much from the time you get it, until you get rid of it unless you use some sort of mattress protector that doesn’t allow skin cells and perspiration to get through.

Did you know that the average person sheds millions of skin cells and a pint of sweat every night in bed? Those two things are what dust mites eat. It’s not the dust mite people are allergic to, but their excrement; that is, their poop can make you very sick. Yuck.

Every day, the media bombard us with ads for new cars and flat screen televisions. Both items are big-ticket and most people will research them to do death. One statistic suggests people will shop at three different stores before they will make a final decision about a new car or large-screen television.

Many places we shop and use offer car-buying services, such as AAA, Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club. You call the car dealership listed in their guides, make an appointment and you get a pre-negotiated price. Is this the best price you can get, or just the illusion of one?

Most of us hate shopping for a car; it’s one big game. The educated consumer will pick the car they want, read the reviews and finally take a test drive armed with prices from “Consumer Reports” or other pricing services. The trick is to negotiate from the invoice price up from the manufacturer’s suggested retail price or MSRP, not down.

Remember, he who talks first loses. Just sit there and stare at the salesperson until he starts to sweat and finally makes an offer. Don’t be afraid to say no several times until you get the price you want.

Thus, although you can’t buy a car on the internet, televisions are another story. Most large chains such as Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, Costco, BJ’s and other regional chains have web sites that may offer better prices than in the stores. Then you have web only sites such as buy-dot-com, circuitcity-dot-com, amazon-dot-com and tigerdirect-dot-com that can offer more variety with lower prices since they don’t have to maintain actual stores.

Thus, you run around to all the stores looking at the various brands, comparing specifications, sizes and prices. Do you want LCD, LED or plasma? Will it be internet connected and able to stream movies from your favorite services?

Then you have to decide, finally, where to buy it. You decided on the make and model, now it’s time to get the best price. Many sites that don’t have a physical presence where you live won’t charge tax, and shipping may be free as well.

Let’s just cut to the chase, and install that new 60” LED 3D television with the surround sound system. Turn off the lights, and wait for the action to start. If you haven’t seen “Star Wars” in Blu-ray HD, you haven’t lived. One of my friends from work got it for me as a very late birthday gift, and they look amazing!

Shop until you drop and buy much new stuff this year!

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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